RISE reached a significant milestone in its work to solve sustainable development challenges using water sensitive principles and practices in informal settlements, when it officially broke ground on the demonstration site in Makassar, Indonesia on 21 November.

The groundbreaking ceremony officially marks the beginning of works at the site, which will kickstart the trial of a new water sensitive approach to water and sanitation management in 24 informal settlements across Makassar, Indonesia and Suva, Fiji.

The RISE goal is to enable these settlements to:

  • recycle their own wastewater (both blackwater and greywater)
  • harvest rainwater
  • create green space for water cleansing and food cultivation
  • restore natural waterways to encourage diversity
  • reduce vulnerability to flooding and climate change.

At the Makassar demonstration site, community construction has already begun on privately owned land, with RISE providing materials and landowners contributing labour for biofilters, rainwater harvesting tanks, and connections to the communal system. Now, the local Batua community and the RISE Indonesia Build Team will lead implementation of the green infrastructure, alongside local contractors.

At the official ceremony, Mayor of Makassar, Mohammad Ramdhan Pomanto said, ‘The groundbreaking activity at the demonstration site is expected to be an example of RISE activities at the other settlement areas in Makassar and become learning material for other districts and cities in Indonesia to solve environmental health problems in informal settlements.’

RISE Program Director, Professor Rebekah Brown described the ceremony as a ‘momentous occasion; the culmination of many years of planning and collaboration across countries, disciplines, institutions, and individuals’. She said at the centre of this effort are the residents of Batua, whose ‘local knowledge and insight, along with an unwavering commitment to the program, has been invaluable’.

RISE is a joint project to adapt and apply water sensitive principles and practices to address human health challenges in informal settlements in developing countries. The Wellcome Trust (UK) and the Asian Development Bank fund RISE, and the CRCWSC advises RISE on community engagement and nature-based structural engineering solutions (such as constructed wetlands) for sanitation and clean water. A wide range of other partner institutions contribute their expertise.

Underpinned by the emerging discipline of ‘planetary health’, RISE success will be measured by the health and wellbeing of residents—particularly children under five years of age—and the ecological diversity of the surrounding environment.

RISE commenced in August 2017 and will conclude in July 2022.

We look forward to watching progress in Makassar, and to the breaking of ground ceremony on the second RISE demonstration site in Suva, Fiji in early 2019.

Last updated: 4th Dec 2018